Why a Moustache? The Movember Movement

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Ron Swanson?

You probably didn’t think of Nick Offerman’s acting, comedy, writing, or woodworking. Instead, you probably first thought about his amazing moustache. 

The same thing happens when someone mentions Tom Selleck.

Background of Moustaches and Other Facial Hair

Facial hair has an interesting history though. 

It is a purely masculine thing because women cannot grow facial hair. There are a few cases where this is proven wrong, but ultimately it is seen as a masculine trait. Men usually have a reason to grow facial hair though.

It can be a sign of mourning or a sign of change in a man’s life.

It can be religious. Many religions, Muslims, Jews, Amish, and even some Catholics, claim having facial hair to be a more pious ritual for men.

Sometimes facial hair can mark maturity. Only men can grow it, so it can be seen as a right of passage sometimes. 

It may be the mark of a life changing event in someone’s life. It happens in sports all the time. Players won’t cut their hair or shave because they see it as good luck or something like that. 

When it comes to the history of facial hair, no one knows more than Mr. Allan Peterkin, author of One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair

Mr. Peterkin suggests in an interview conducted on the podcast Art of Manliness, that facial hair began to lose fashion because of its association with the counterculture. 

This is a very American thing, but it began being associated with beatniks in the 50s, hippies, and swingers. 

Movember Moustache: Bringing Back Meaning

Then comes 2003. Two Australian friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, were having a couple beers and got to talking about fashion. They talked about how trends tend to be cyclical to some degree. 

Just like many other conversations, this turned to talk of facial hair.

The friends decided they missed the times of the moustache. Like many friends do, they decided they should bring the moustache back in fashion. 

Thus started the first ever Movember. It wasn’t a super big movement to support anything in particular at the time, but they got a group of their friends, about 30, and set up the first ever Moustache November. 

The group of first ever Movember participants decided they should do something to give back as well. They figured, since they’re growing moustaches, they should do something that is beneficial to men.

Heavily inspired by October being breast cancer awareness month, they came up with Movember to back prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and male mental health awareness. 

It started in 2003, but the Movember movement didn’t make its way to the United States until 2007. 

It has since exploded as a world wide charity. It has gotten millions of dollars and has reached millions of men and women. 

It’s important to note that not only men benefit from this movement. Men physically benefit from the cancer research. Men and women both benefit from the male mental health awareness. 

There are now ways for men and women both to participate. You can sign up to host an event. This would result in dollars donated and spreading the message. 

You can grow a moustache and donate with it. Not only that, but a moustache is an amazing conversation starter to help raise awareness. 

Lastly, both men and women can run 60 miles through the month of November, at their own pace, as a remembrance for the 60 men that lose their battles with suicide each hour. 

Learn more at the Movember website, the story is chronicled, all monetary donations are tracked and available to the public, and you can find ways to participate in your community.

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